Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Farewell...For Now

For the last few weeks I’ve written and re-written about a dozen farewell posts. None of which were to my liking. The best thing about hobbies is that you can start or stop whenever you want. No strings attached. I have quite the list of past hobbies-cross-stitch, gymnastics (four years!), biking, knitting (and when I say knitting I really mean getting tangled in the yarn for 20 minutes while Ryan cut me out), gardening (which I would still do if I had a yard), card making, gaming (yes I was a video gamer, I know, I know, I’m a total dork). Few hobbies have lasted the tests of Stephanie’s attention span. So far, reading, scrapbooking and writing are the only ones that have lasted beyond the typical 1-2 year attention span most of my hobbies have been given. In all honesty, blogging has lost its excitement. The fun part that kept me coming back wanting to hit the publish button has been MIA for several months now, and my writing shows it.

For the last two years I’ve posted about my life as a military spouse, the challenges I faced, going back to school in my late 20’s, becoming civilians and moving to a different time zone. I’ve posted about my family, my friends, my marriage, my fears, my dreams, my craziness that drives me insane (I assure you its possible), school, my career, and jobs in between. It was about four months ago that blogging started to become more of a chore than an outlet to express myself. There were weeks that I struggled just to get out those two posts a week. It was when I found that I actually chose to do homework over blogging that I realized holy crap, I think my blogging phase is done.

I thought surely I can’t leave those few people that loyally read my blog every week (mom) hanging. I mean seriously, I have my baby sisters graduation this weekend, my sisters bridal shower that I’m throwing for her next month and her wedding in August. I’ll be finishing my degree this year and I still don’t know if I’m going to join the Air Force or not, and kids are right around the corner! Surely I’ll have TONS to blog about, crazy stories to tell, and memories to share. That, my faithful blogger buds is why I am not saying goodbye, but taking a blogging break. I’m sure I’ll be back, but I don’t know when. Stay plugged in, ya never know when I might pop up ready to tackle the blogosphere again. Until then, enjoy your summer, and I’ll see you soon.

Steph

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kids or the Air Force?

Lately, and when I say lately I mean for the last year and a half, I've been going back and forth with a decision. For those of you that don't know me super well, I don't make major decisions quickly or easily. Tattoos, I have three, after I picked out what I wanted for each one I waited about a year before I actually got it, just to make sure...they are permanent ya know. When Ryan proposed I told him I wanted to be engaged at least a year, just to make sure. (Give me a break we had only been dating, long distance mind you, for nine months.) When we bought our first house I had already been scoping out neighborhoods a year in advance. My biological time clock started ticking six months ago and we haven't started "trying" yet. I want to make sure that the ticking doesn't stop...that's all. I don't take large decision-making lightly. I analyze every tiny, intricate piece of the puzzle. It drives my husband nuts. This decision is HUGE. Hell I've been contemplating it for a year and a half, that's gotta say something.

It started when Ryan was deployed and we found out that he was getting out at higher tenure. Growing up we never really had financial stability, we had health insurance in spurts and never when we really needed it, and my parents will more than likely work for the rest of their lives with no retirement. At the time, saying goodbye to the military meant saying goodbye to financial stability, saying goodbye to our kick-ass health care, and saying goodbye to a guaranteed pension plan. Ryan, being a nuke, couldn't cross-rate or join a different branch. Once a nuke gets out, that's it for your military career unless you join the reserves, and you don't get 1/2 the benefits with the reserves.

I did some research and was seriously looking at joining the Air Force. You can have your education paid for, amazing medical benefits, the option to serve overseas (depending on your rank and job), the pride of serving your country (which to me would be worth it regardless of the other benefits); you can say that you are part of something big, something important, something that matters. I talked to a lot of people, airmen, sailors and soldiers. It was the airmen that really grabbed me. Each and every one of them loved it, they all said it was the best decision they ever made, and that they wouldn't get out until they were kicked out in umpty-ump years. The soldiers were a bit mixed in the feelings of the Army and all the sailors told me I was an idiot for thinking of joining. I talked to the girls, and I still remember what each of them said. Alison said "Really?" Tiffany said it made complete sense and that she thought I would do well in the military. Marina said "DO IT!" Ryan wasn't as thrilled, he said he would support me, but you know when your life partner isn't super excited about something. I did some more research and found the qualifications for being an officer. Basically it came down to finishing my degree. I put the Air Force on hold. I decided that I only wanted to join if I could be an officer. The pay is better and there's more career opportunities. Shortly after that Ryan got the job here in Louisiana. We packed up and moved. My dreams of the Air Force moved with me.

The plan, in my head, was to finish my degree and talk to Ryan again about joining the Air Force. I wasn't planning on my biological time clock to start ticking six months ago. Now I'm not sure what I want. The Air Force topic came up again last night. Apparently Ryan didn't know I was so serious about it. When he was less than thrilled about it the first time I mentioned it, I let it go. He didn't realize the desire was still there. He mentioned using his MGI bill to go to school while I was in the AF. As we talked more about it I was excited, but the thought of kids still hung in the back of my mind. I'm not going to do well having kids and then leaving them to deploy. Some billets don't allow you to take your family and you could be gone for a year. I could miss firsts, first steps, first birthdays, first driving lessons, their prom, their graduation. I don't want to miss any of those things!

Do I want kids or do I want to serve my country as an airman? I realize people do this all the time, and I know plenty of people who are in the military with kids. I look at those people with admiration. Not everyone can do that. I don't know if I could. During Ryan's second deployment I hung out a lot with this girl named Annie (you may have seen her leave comments every now and then). Her husband was stationed on the same ship as Ryan, he and Ryan were friends, they had two little boys. I remember their oldest son, he was maybe five years old at the time, crying because he missed his dad. It broke my heart. Deployments are so hard on kids, much more so than I realized before I saw Cody sobbing. Annie tried to comfort him with tears in her eyes. I can only imagine how helpless she probably felt. There's nothing she could do, she couldn't call her husband and say, "Hey ya mind coming home for dinner tonight, the kids miss you." That's not an option in the military.

My friend Jen, I went to high school with her, she joined the Air Force our sophomore year of college. She has two babies, a year apart, she hasn't had to do a deployment away from them yet. She said herself, that she has no choice it's her duty to go, but it will rip her apart and her kids and husband will have a hard time. Do I want to do that to my future kids, just so that I can live out a dream of mine? Ryan and I can provide a decent living for our kids without the military. I guess my dream of the Air Force is selfish at this point. I guess this all comes down to what I want more. I couldn't do both, I couldn't leave my kids for months on end. This isn't exactly the same decision as-do I want to be a stay-at-home mom or a career mom working 9-5 at the office.

Do I want to be an airman or a mommy?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Random Ramblings...

Ugh, this whole recycling thing is a pain in the ass. How horrible would I feel if I just said screw it and started throwing away my recyclables?

I feel like I should start going back to church...I know...WEIRD.

I went through our Netflix list and rearranged the movies. All movies with a plot that make me have to think, are now last on the list. I do enough thinking, when I'm watching movies I'd rather just stare at the screen with my mouth open.

I purchased life insurance the other day. I have student loans. If something happens and I die, those student loans would fall on Ryan. How crappy would that be? Not only is he losing his wife, and her income, but now he's gotta pay for loans that he didn't even earn.

I caught myself looking up nurseries on Google last weekend. Not garden nurseries, baby nurseries.

Ryan said it's crappy that I would go to a titty bar without him. Uuhh, call me crazy but I really have no desire to see my husband oogling other women's boobs.

No mom I didn't go to a titty bar. It's all hypothetical and it started with a conversation about cartoons...oh never mind.

Is it just me or does the 8-hour work day really feel like an 8-week work day?

I look forward to when I have time to read for fun. Right now I'm reading about economic forecasting theory...it's about as exciting as death...as most textbooks are.

Friday, May 14, 2010

WHAT?!?!

So, I open up the Internet and what do I find...Heroes has been canceled. Heroes, THE best "supernatural" TV show since Smallville has gone down hill, has been canceled. AND we never got to know what happened! Did Silar stay good or did he go evil again? What about Noah and his blonde partner chick? What about Claire, she totally jumped off that building and cracked her bones back together in front of that news crew. What about Peter and the deaf chick? He never did get all his powers back, and she was finally figuring out who she was!

UGH, what the heck is wrong with NBC? Apparently due to fewer viewers, less than 5 million, oh darn, and that time slot being needed for other new shows, they kicked my beloved TV show to the curb. Dude, unless these new shows have a bad-ass, sweet-hearted, smoking Italian with super powers and Ali Larter naked dripping wet, it's just not gonna cut it.

*Sigh* I guess I'll just have to be happy with Smallville. I've been watching that show since it started nine years ago. I know, I know, it's totally gotten strange, but I'm vested at this point. Nine years of my life has been spent watching Tom Welling swoop in and save the day, I can't let those nine years go to waste, I might as well see it through. Hopefully "through" will be soon. At least salvage the show with some decency.

Speaking of supernatural shows, Vampire Diaries turned out to be pretty good. I was afraid it would end up being really teeny boppery and annoying. Not so much, I've become quite a fan. Anybody seen the finale? It's gonna kill me to wait months to see what happens, especially now that a certain someone is in the picture.

Ok I'm done rambling. NBC sucks, Heroes is gone, Smallville needs to wrap it up and Vampire Diaries is hot. There ya have it, my professional TV opinion.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

New Orleans...With Pictures!

Ryan and I have gone to New Orleans a few times since we moved to Baton Rouge six months ago. We really like New Orleans, it's a bummer we live 45 minutes away, but both my job and the majority of Ryan's jobs are in Baton Rouge, so here we stay. I actually remembered my camera this trip, so I have pictures for you guys.

We were surprised that it wasn't more crowded downtown, since it's Mother's Day weekend. We could actually walk around without bumping into people, which is nearly impossible in Charleston on a holiday weekend. The weather was perfect, sunny with a breeze. AND we stopped at Cafe DuMonde this time for beignets (french donuts). People down here RAVE over beignets. They're good don't get me wrong, but I guess I'm just an American girl...I thought Dunkin' Donuts raspberry filled donuts were better. *Shrug* What can you do?

I think the reason why I like New Orleans so much is because of all the culture there. You have people painting on the side of the street, and "mom n' pop" jazz bands playing in the middle of the street. Not to mention the beautiful architecture. New Orleans is a bit rundown, and if you pay attention you can find the stores and condos that were abandoned after Katrina. I think that's why I like it, the city shows it's history, like it has a story to tell. I know I compare New Orleans downtown to Charleston's downtown a lot, just bear with me. Charleston is beautiful. All the buildings, the cobblestone roads, the picket fences, the pier, everything is so perfectly maintained, you're almost afraid to touch anything. It's so obvious that Charlestonians have a lot of pride in their city. It's almost too perfect, like it was built yesterday, not during the colonial days. New Orleans has that historical worn in look.

My favorite area is by St. Louis cathedral. That whole area is kind of open, you'll see local artists painting, tarot card readers, psychics, palm readers, and drag queens posing hoping you'll put money in their sequined hat.









There are so many different shops in New Orleans. You have your regular tourist shops that sell t-shirts, mardi gras masks, and mardi-gras beads, antique/junk shops, furniture stores, clothing stores, jewelry stores, and all of them are original to New Orleans. You won't find Prada, Coach, Liz Claiborne, Tommy Hilfiger, none of that. You have super fancy shops...



And not so fancy shops...


The outdoor market area...I originally compared it to Charleston's marketplace on Market St., but as we continued to walk it changed from a market place, to a farmer's market, to this awesome outdoor eatery area. Ryan said that you see these eatery places in Europe all the time...


Biker bars...notice the green shutters on the building to the left of the bar, how cool!


And people dressed up like robots, actually moving like a robot to robot music...


Bands playing in the streets...




Then there's the beautiful wrought iron balconies...








Then there's the jazz cafes, Harrah's, and the trillions of bars. If there's one thing that Louisiana knows how to do it's party. New Orleans is truly one of a kind city. I'm glad I have the opportunity to experience it!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Lots Of Good and Some Bad

The company I’m with has officially made me one of their permanent employees, which is fantastic, because I REALLY need to start accruing vacation and sick time. I also got a raise, which is also fantastic. That’s my second raise since I started working here 3.5 months ago.

I found out that if you have a certain GPA, the university I’m going to allows their students to triple up on classes. For example, full time for an online student is 2 classes at a time since each term/semester only lasts 8 weeks. It’s the equivalent of taking 4 classes on campus each 3 month semester. Well, if your GPA is high enough you’re allowed to take up to online classes at a time. Once my finance and economics classes are done, I’ll only have electives left and I’ll be doing my damndest to triple up on classes so that I can finish early. So, that’s good news.

Ryan and I are going to New Orleans tomorrow, and a crawfish boil on Sunday. Stay tuned for pictures.

Ryan and I are going to Charleston, SC in 3 weeks for my baby sister’s high school graduation. I miss my family A LOT, I can’t wait to see them. As an added bonus, Alison and Hunter were just transferred to Charleston, so I’ll get to see them too!

Now for the bad news. It’s not really bad…well it is bad, but it’s not coming as a surprise. The foreclosure auction date for the VA house is on Tues. I pulled up my credit report just to see the damage and to see what I’m working with…it’s extensive, and my score will drop again after the foreclosure date…or so I’m told. The good news is my company pulled my credit score (I’m in accounting it’s regular practice) and they didn’t say anything about it, it didn’t hinder the perm process at all. So here’s hoping that I can get our scores back up in the next few years.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Fun Jobs

Marina and I were discussing fun jobs the other day. I haven't had the most fun jobs, although Ryan says that selling women's underwear and measuring boobs all day sounds pretty fun to him. Working at a bookstore, coffee shop, delivering flowers, wedding planner, puppy walker (not adult dog walker, just puppies...yes we discriminate), they all sound super fun. Of course all of these jobs pay crap. Isn't that how it usually goes? If it's somewhat enjoyable at all you end up living in the city park because you make crap for pay. The stressful and in Marina's words, soulless, jobs are the ones that pay all the money. Then you end up spending all that money on a shrink and antidepressants. You end up having no time to even read books or drink coffee because all you do is work your soulless job. Doesn't that sound like gobs of fun?

What if you had a chance to work one of those super fun jobs...would you take it, knowing you'd make no money? I don't know if I would. I enjoy having financial security, and financial independence from credit cards and banks too much.